OUR TEAM

Where the Passion Begins

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MASTER SANCHEZ

Master Sanchez holds the Rank of 9th Degree Black Belt and has been practicing and teaching martial arts for over 40 years. He teaches private lessons to school owners from Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Mr. Sanchez is an Air Force veteran who reenlisted in the service after 9/11. He taught military personnel on his first and second enlistment. Upon his reenlistment Mr. Sanchez went on to cross train as an Air Force medic. He is also a National Registry Emergency Medical Technician and has studied with the American College Of Sports Medicine. He has designed programs that address the three major components of health and fitness – cardio/respiratory endurance, muscular strength/endurance and range of motion. Mr. Sanchez believes in developing fit, well rounded martial artists.  Master Sanchez partners with Ellington Youth Services bringing martial arts awareness programs to the community.

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ALLY HASTILLO

Ally began her martial arts journey at American Karate at the age of 8.  She currently holds the rank of 3rd Degree Black Belt. Her favorite weapons are Nunchakus and Bo Staff. Ally excels academically, maintaining Dean's List at Central Connecticut State University where she is a Finance Major. Ally has elected an accelerated schedule for her Degree with a graduation date of December 2022. Ally is a fantastic role model and enjoys working with all our students and seeing them grow as martial artists and individuals. In her free time she enjoys fishing, hiking, and music. 

EMILY DURHAM

Emily holds the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt, and is our Program Director at AK. She became an instructor at American Karate in 2007 and taught at the school while studying at UConn, graduating Magna Cum Laude from the university. She then went on to receive her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction in 2013. She taught Social Studies for 5 years before becoming a mom to her two daughters. She is grateful to Master Sanchez and Martial Arts for being a constant throughout all the changes in her life. She credits her achievements to the life lessons that were instilled in her through her training, and looks to share these life lessons and effect change in the lives of others.

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EDONA SELIMAJ

NICK GIORDANO

Nick started his journey at American Karate when he was 12 years old, and currently holds the rank of 2nd Degree Black Belt. Nick is a senior at Ellington High School, taking and succeeding in his advanced placement classes. Nick is an outstanding martial artist, focusing on the small details, making him a fantastic technincian. His favorite kicks include, tornado kicks and spinning hook kicks. While not at the school, he enjoys playing video games, working with his 3D printer, and learning how different mechanisms work. He loves educating our students at AK and watching them grow and improve their karate skills. 

Edona began her martial arts training at American Karate when she was 9 years old. With hard work and dedication, she currently holds the rank of 3rd Degree Black Belt. Edona's favorite weapon is Nunchaku, and she also loves not only perfecting her sky high kicks, but teaching our students to perfect theirs as well. Edona loves to spend time with her friends, listen to music, and eat good food. Edona loves working with our kids at AK, and watching them grow into amazing martial artists and individuals. 

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